David Kirkpatrick

May 31, 2009

Tragedy in the culture wars

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:39 pm

Maybe I should have titled this one, “Theocrat uses church for murder.” Of course that would be misleading because we don’t the philosophy of this particular murderer. We do know the philosophy of many public figures who speak of abortion and abortion-performing doctors in militant terms.

Dr. George Tiller’s blood is on the hands of many. Hopefully the one who pulled the trigger is caught and fully punished. I’m going out on a limb and guessing eventually we’ll find out he “did it for god.”

From the link:

George Tiller, a Wichita doctor who was one of the few doctors in the nation to perform late-term abortions, was shot to death on Sunday as he attended church, city officials in Wichita said.

Dr. Tiller, who had performed abortions since the 1970s, had long been a lightning rod for controversy over the issue of abortion, particularly in Kansas, where abortion opponents regularly protested outside his clinic and sometimes his home and church. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent but recovered.

He had also been the subject of many efforts at prosecution, including a citizen-initiated grand jury investigation. In the latest such effort, in March, Dr. Tiller was acquitted of charges that he had performed late-term abortions that violated state law.

The shooting occurred at around 10 a.m. (Central time) at Reformation Lutheran Church on the city’s East Side, Dr. Tiller’s regular church.

Update: You can follow the real time reactions at Twittervia the #tiller hashtag. There’s news and condolences, but then there’s a lot of great, and sickening, examples of the mindset of christianists and theocrats. Truly sick people and enemies of the United States. Religious terrorism anyone?

The perpetrator of this murder and all who encouraged this act explicitly or implicitly are nothing more than domestic terrorists. Looks like the battle against religious terrorism has a renewed front and a slightly different flavor in terms of the “good book” used to justify the terrorist acts.

Take any opinion on abortion and abortionists you like, but Dr. Tiller was a certified medical doctor practicing medicine the United States and performing legal medical procedures. He died for simply doing his job and providing a legal service (late-term abortions) few other doctors dare offer, often because of fear of being murdered. That is the definition of terrorism.

April 7, 2009

Texas education standards v. science

Filed under: Media, Politics, Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:19 pm

A new front beyond the ID/creationist bullshit has broken out it seems. Now the age of the universe is under attack by theocratic fools. An embarrassment to this great state, and sadly affects kids across the U.S. since the Texas education system is so large most publishers cater to the Lone Star State with everyone else left using the same textbooks.

Sad and embarrassing and not without a big of danger in potentially producing uninformed young adults. That’s best left to the home-schoolers.

From the PhysOrg link:

Until now, matters of space have been very little addressed in terms of religion. After all, couldn’t God have created the universe well before putting humans on Earth? But it appears that by working from Earth outward, some are becoming concerned. If God created humans on Earth just a few millennia ago, then Earth can’t be 4.5 billion years old. And if Earth isn’t as old as all that, surely the universe isn’t, either. It’s an interesting train of logic. And one that could result in all we know about space science being brought under attack.

April 5, 2009

Dreher v. gay marriage

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:21 am

Rod Dreher crawled out on his worm-eaten plank of theocratic social conservatism to opine on the topic of gay marriage and had his panicked fear of those homosexuals wanting to share in recognition of their committed love shown to be … well, shown to be just what it is. Homophobia coupled with hysterics.

After some bloggy exchanges here’s Rod (the apparent rod-fearer) with his weak sauce response:

Andrew Sullivan is still banging on about my “panic” over homosexuality, and his colleague Ta-Nehisi Coates likens me to a segregationist. Never mind that being accused of “panic” by Andrew is like being called a sot by Amy Winehouse, what I find so instructive about this exchange is how many on the left reflexively treat conservative objections to, and critical questions about, same-sex marriage: they describe conservatives as emotionally unhinged and bigoted.

And his theocratic beliefs force him to see this issue in terms of conservative or liberal. Nope. That’s only for those who choose to base legislation on the dogma of their particular religion. Sounds a lot like those medievals over in the Mideast, huh?

And placing Sullivan on the left? Er, yeah.

December 11, 2008

Dreher, church and state

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:35 pm

(My bad — this post is by Erin Manning. Apologies to Rod, but sorry the header is stuck as is. New additions to the text are in italics.)

“Crunchy con” Rod Dreher  Erin Manning gets this absolutely wrong:

There aren’t any serious voices on the right (or anywhere else in America) clamoring for religion to be tied to government.

Yep, I took one sentence out of context, but hit the link for the long, long bit that attempts (and fails to) explain away that one sentence. This attitude from Erin is typical of Rod’s weak approach to what can be best described as liberal conservatism — he wants very liberal fiscal policies tied to very conservative (dare I say theocratic) cultural policies, and pretend like it’s just in the best intentions for all.

“See, gee whiz I just want the best for everyone!” And then candy falls from the sky. If that candy kills you then you’re in luck. God will pluck your dead corpse up to heaven for life eternal.

I’m not going to take the time for a search, but it’s not too hard to find many, many recent quotes from uber-religious politicians (who would probably be happy to be called theocrats) on exactly why they want the church to be a major part of the state. And that doesn’t take into account religious leaders opining on politics or religiously-bent right wing pundits. Dreher did say there weren’t “any serious voices on the right” clamoring for theocracy.

Well Rod Erin, you are very wrong. There are voices, serious or not, who want religion to be tied to government right here in the United States. Sounds a lot like some of those Mideast lands doesn’t it, Rod Erin?

December 7, 2008

Nanotech culture war?

My previous blog post was on the religious fearing nanotechnology.  Here’s a press release on the subject with a little different slant.

If this becomes another one of those stem cell researchers v. theocrat-type battles I’m going to become ready to ship all those fools to their own little island where they can build big churches and pray all day. Meh.

The release:

Nanotechnology ‘culture war’ possible, says Yale study

IMAGE: Nanowire lasers are one new development of nanotechnology.

Click here for more information. 

New Haven, Conn, — Rather than infer that nanotechnology is safe, members of the public who learn about this novel science tend to become sharply polarized along cultural lines, according to a study conducted by the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School in collaboration with the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. The report is published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

These findings have important implications for garnering support of the new technology, say the researchers.

The experiment involved a diverse sample of 1,500 Americans, the vast majority of whom were unfamiliar with nanotechnology, a relatively new science that involves the manipulation of particles the size of atoms and that has numerous commercial applications. When shown balanced information about the risks and benefits of nanotechnology, study participants became highly divided on its safety compared to a group not shown such information.

The determining factor in how people responded was their cultural values, according to Dan Kahan, the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor at Yale Law School and lead author of the study. “People who had more individualistic, pro-commerce values, tended to infer that nanotechnology is safe,” said Kahan, “while people who are more worried about economic inequality read the same information as implying that nanotechnology is likely to be dangerous.”

According to Kahan, this pattern is consistent with studies examining how people’s cultural values influence their perceptions of environmental and technological risks generally. “In sum, when they learned about a new technology, people formed reactions to it that matched their views of risks like climate change and nuclear waste disposal,” he said.

The study also found that people who have pro-commerce cultural values are more likely to know about nanotechnology than others. “Not surprisingly, people who like technology and believe it isn’t bad for the environment tend to learn about new technologies before other people do,” said Kahan. “While various opinion polls suggest that familiarity with nanotechnology leads people to believe it is safe, they have been confusing cause with effect.”

According to Kahan and other experts, the findings of the experiment highlight the need for public education strategies that consider citizens’ predispositions. “There is still plenty of time to develop risk-communication strategies that make it possible for persons of diverse values to understand the best evidence scientists develop on nanotechnology’s risks,” added Kahan. “The only mistake would be to assume that such strategies aren’t necessary.”

“The message matters,” said David Rejeski, director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. “How information about nanotechnology is presented to the vast majority of the public who still know little about it can either make or break this technology. Scientists, the government, and industry generally take a simplistic, ‘just the facts’ approach to communicating with the public about a new technology. But, this research shows that diverse audiences and groups react to the same information very differently.”




The study was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School, and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.

The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School is an interdisciplinary team of scholars from Yale University, the University of Washington, George Washington University, the University of Colorado, and Decision Research. The project studies how people’s values affect their views on various societal risks, including climate change, gun ownership, and nanotechnology, among others. For more information, visit www.culturalcognition.net.

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. For more information about the project, log on to www.nanotechproject.org.

About nanotechnology: Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually on a scale between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide. In 2007, the global market for goods incorporating nanotechnology totaled $147 billion. Lux Research projects that figure will grow to $3.1 trillion by 2015.

Citation: Nature Nanotechnology(Advance Online Publication December 7, 2008)
doi: 10.1038/NNANO.2008.341

Dan Kahan http://www.law.yale.edu/faculty/DKahan.htm

The religious fear nanotech

Filed under: Politics, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:45 pm

One more place religion holds modern society down — it seems the religious fear nanotechnology. Idiots.

This is also one more great reason to fight hard against the burgeoning theocratic movement in the GOP.

From the link:

When it comes to the world of the very, very small — nanotechnology — Americans have a big problem: Nano and its capacity to alter the fundamentals of nature, it seems, are failing the moral litmus test of religion.

In a report published today (Dec. 7) in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, survey results from the United States and Europe reveal a sharp contrast in the perception that nanotechnology is morally acceptable. Those views, according to the report, correlate directly with aggregate levels of religious views in each country surveyed

In the United States and a few European countries where religion plays a larger role in everyday life, notably Italy, Austria and Ireland, nanotechnology and its potential to alter living organisms or even inspire synthetic life is perceived as less morally acceptable. In more secular European societies, such as those in France and Germany, individuals are much less likely to view nanotechnology through the prism of religion and find it ethically suspect.

“The level of ‘religiosity’ in a particular country is one of the strongest predictors of whether or not people see nanotechnology as morally acceptable,” says Dietram Scheufele, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of life sciences communication and the lead author of the new study. “Religion was the strongest influence over everything.”

For more on this subject, see this post.

Head below the fold for the complete press release this post was based on.


November 25, 2008

James Dobson another executioner of the GOP

James Dobson, theocrat and Focus on Family leader, excoriates Kathleen Parker for the heresy of saying the GOP has a religious right problem. According to the king-unmaker she’s no longer a conservative.

I’d say Dobson is much more a cancer on conservatism and the GOP brand than anything Parker has written this electoral season. What a nutbag.

From the link:

Washington Post columnist says the Republican Party must ditch God in order to survive.

So, Kathleen Parker has determined that getting rid of social conservatives and shelving the values they fight for is the solution to what ails the Republican Party (“Giving Up on God,” Nov. 19). Isn’t that a little like Benedict Arnold handing George Washington a battle plan to win the Revolution?

Whatever she once was, Ms. Parker is certainly not a conservative anymore, having apparently realized it’s a lot easier to be popular among your journalistic peers when your keyboard tilts to the left. She writes that “armband religion” — those of us who “wear our faith on our sleeve,” I suppose, or is it meant to compare socially conservative Christians to Nazis? — is “killing the Republican Party.” Lest readers miss the point, she literally spells it out. The GOP’s big problem? G-O-D. N-O-N-S-E-N-S-E.

Update — Dobson does make one point I totally agree with.

Also from the link:

Good thing, then, we don’t need an embossed note from Ms. Parker — or anyone else — to take part in the political dialogue — of either party. Our invitation to engage the process comes straight from our Founders. We will continue to stand up for the sanctity of human life, the sacredness of marriage and the right to have a say in the principles that will continue to guide this nation founded on biblical  principles. Where Ms. Parker gets it most wrong is in writing that socially conservative Christians are an “element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.”

The first amendment absolutely gives him and everyone the right to free speech. I think Parker’s point was if the GOP wants to continue winning elections (particularly nationally) Dobson and his ilk need to be confined to wooden crates on street corners.

Bush 43, fiscal liberal

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:30 pm

This is a prime example of where I break every possible way from the Bush 43 policies. The Community-Based Abstinence Education has been an abject failure and is a prime example of reckless fiscal liberalism coupled with thinly-veiled theocratic uber-conservative social policy.

A total lose-lose any way you slice it. Gives the religious right a few warm fuzzies and simply wastes the treasure of the United States.

From the link:

Our federal government recently announced that it would review abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that receive federal funds under the Community-Based Abstinence Education (“CBAE”) program. CBAE is one of three dedicated federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding streams. Over the last several years, the federal government has spent more than $1.5 billion on these programs, even though we’ve known for awhile that they simply don’t work.

Yesterday, we sent comments, expressing our frustration, to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”), the federal agency proposing to evaluate CBAE programs. Our basic concerns: researchers have already concluded that these programs do not have any measurable effect; moreover, by definition, these programs exclude and stigmatize a large number of students.